Analog Copression for electronic music

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technicsman1
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Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by technicsman1 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:02 am

I produce electronic music, mainly techno, and was wondering what is the best compression/compressor to use. I use only hardware, and love my stuff to sound raw/gritty.....cannot stand clean production. Basically after something that maintains the warmth from hardware, gives you decent "oomph" but doesn't polish things/clean them up. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I'm a complete novice when in comes to compression.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by technicsman1 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:11 am

*compression

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:46 am

A pair of Distressors with the British mod and stereo link would be a good choice. This should be in Sound Production by the way.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by technicsman1 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:05 am

Ahh, apologies! Cheers for moving the thread. Are there any cheaper options. Couldn't afford £2,800 just yet lol!

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by tekkentool » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:49 pm

technicsman1 wrote:Ahh, apologies! Cheers for moving the thread. Are there any cheaper options. Couldn't afford £2,800 just yet lol!
Software ;)

I think for most purposes you'll actually be fine with a software compressor, then use other stuff to give you the gritty sound which is obviously important.

If you don't have a computer in your recording chain whatsoever go out and find something cheap and cheerful (like a 3630) until you know what qualities you really want out of a compressor.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by Solderman » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:27 pm

I bought a used Bellari RP583 and had it modded by Matrix Audio Systems. I spent about $600 all total(including repair of the meters and one output stage) for something that sounds much more expensive. This would only be for someone who likes optical compressors, but with tube stages to boot.
I've run full stereo drum loops through it, plus all of my monosynths at one point or another, and I like the opto-compressor behavior. Seems to preserve the punch well without having to fiddle with Attack so much.
Dunno about making it dirtier. The mod actually makes it more pristine unless you crank the output stages. Tube drive there will depend greatly on which tubes are installed.
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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by b3groover » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:59 pm

tekkentool wrote: If you don't have a computer in your recording chain whatsoever go out and find something cheap and cheerful (like a 3630) until you know what qualities you really want out of a compressor.
The 3630 can actually be quite decent if you have any soldering skills and can modify it a bit. New VCAs, pumped up PSU, and a few other minor changes turn it into a really good sounding compressor for under $100.

Other than that, the DBX 266 ain't bad. The cheaper tube stuff from ART is decent. But I agree that the best bang for the buck you can get is software.
Last edited by b3groover on Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by Rick N Boogie » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:49 pm

Electro Harmonix Black Finger, if you don't mind pedals, (I use one on a board, right after a 4 channel mixer), but it's mono, so you'd need 2 of them if you go stereo. Awesome comp, otherwise.
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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:28 am

technicsman1 wrote:Are there any cheaper options. Couldn't afford £2,800 just yet lol!
Well you did ask for best.

In my opinion the 3630 is usable but quite bad, as is the 266XL. RNC and RNLA are much better for not much more money. For compression under $500 the best options are software though, the only reason to use hardware under that price is if you don't have a computer anywhere in your recording chain.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by technicsman1 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:59 pm

No I do use a computer with cubase for arrangement. I'd be looking for a hardware compressor around 1200$, maybe a second hand one? Def want to avoid pulg ins as I spend a lot of time getting sounds from analog synth and use analog effects.....want to avoid digitally processing the audio as much as poss! I know.....I'm weird

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:32 pm

There's a Distressor on Gearslutz for $1100 at the moment, that's the average price they go for and they come up all the time.

If you've got some hangup about using plugins you're missing out, the McDSP stuff for example is really great, I use it all the time. Doesn't stop my modular from sounding analogue. It's not the gear that makes the sound, it's the person using it.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by blavatsky » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:24 pm

Slightly off topic but I think relevent - I've also been looking at distressors, RNLA, RNC, dbx 160 stuff...

But recently have also gotten better at making software compression work for me - reaComp (in Reaper), blockfish, endorphin, classic compressor - all do the job pretty well.

Do you guys think that a decent preamp (say, under 500 - GAP, RNP, something like that) would make a big (bigger?) difference in sounds than a compressor? Or more bang for the buck....this is for tracking snare/bass drum/guitar/bass , pretty general use.

The one thing I did read about hardware compression is (supposedly) the ATTACK or a real VCA cannot be beat in software for stuff with a real fast attack like bass drum, snare, etc.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by tekkentool » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:16 pm

technicsman1 wrote: I spend a lot of time getting sounds from analog synth and use analog effects.....want to avoid digitally processing the audio as much as poss! I know.....I'm weird
Does adjusting the volume knob ruin how "analogue" your setup sounds too? :lol:

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:33 pm

Before it starts, let's not let this get to be yet another digital vs analogue shitfest. Gear is gear, stuff sounds how it sounds, does what it does, and the only way to go is to use what you like using because you like using it. Whether that's software, hardware, or two chickens in a pillowcase tied together with a gnat's flaps does NOT matter. What matters is that you get something out of the process and want the results.

Personally, I think it's very true that experimenting with even a DAW's built-in plugins can yield very good results - and that there's nothing wrong with playing with hardware either, so if that's what you want to try, any of the above recommendations would be worth having a bash at. Something else to consider is mixing on a hardware console rather than within the DAW - there are loads of old mixers out there for less than ever now everyone works in the box. Bit of a gamble perhaps, they might be fried and sound awful, but likewise you might find sonic nirvana for thirty quid at a boot sale, so who knows.

As for pre-amps, whatever. I've got a UA710 which does a nice job, but then so do the pre-amps on my A&H. You can complicate the matter with running synths into a good DI first as well, passive or active. You could buy a tube pre, or a solid state model. You could amp your synths and record the audio with a battered cheap mic at the end of a corridor, or a really expensive mic up to the grille. You could work in the garden. You could use only equipment made by one brand.

There's no end to it. Buy stuff you fancy trying, try it, and see what it does. If you hate it, get rid and pick up something else.

Whatever you do, the most important thing is not to let gear get in the way of making music. Unless you just want to f**k about with gear, in which case your rocks will be getting very much off. Win!

BTW, directly addressing the OP now - if you are a compression newbie, maybe best not to start with anything expensive. Seriously, either faff with your plugins or buy something cheap to get to know how it works. Then spend your money wisely.
Last edited by nathanscribe on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Analog Copression for electronic music

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:36 pm

Rick N Boogie wrote:Electro Harmonix Black Finger, if you don't mind pedals, (I use one on a board, right after a 4 channel mixer), but it's mono, so you'd need 2 of them if you go stereo. Awesome comp, otherwise.
I quite like the White Finger too. Fiddly to get used to maybe, but good sounding.

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